By Sharon Kennedy Wynne
From Tampa Bay Times
Tampa—A flotilla of a half-dozen tall ships, including a replica of the iconic Santa Maria, will sail into the St. Petersburg waterfront for a festival onshore and off March 30-April 2.
Tall Ships America, a nonprofit dedicated to maritime heritage and youth education, is bringing its annual tour of tall ships from across the country. This is the first time in 20 years that the majestic maritime festival has included a port in St. Petersburg.
The fleet heading to St. Petersburg includes the Nao Trinidad from Spain, a replica of the Santa Maria, the largest of the three Spanish ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492. Five additional invited ships include Pride of Baltimore II, Ernestina-Morrissey and Barque Elissa, one of the oldest ships sailing today, having launched in 1877.
Additionally, the restored schooner When and If, which was designed for Gen. George S. Patton, as well as Tampa Bay’s own Suncoast Horizon, will round out the fleet.
Guests will be able to tour and even sail on the vessels. There will also be numerous activities at the dockside festival celebrating the fleet and St. Petersburg’s rich nautical roots.
The event will kick off with a Parade of Sail from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. April 30, at the city’s port at 250 Eighth Ave. SE, St. Petersburg, in Bayboro Harbor next to Albert Whitted Airport. There will also be an exclusive captain’s reception that evening, a news release said. The maritime festival is expected to draw almost 20,000 attendees who will find tours, live music, festival food and beverage options throughout the weekend.
The gates will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. March 30 through April 2. General admission is free, $9.95 for the festival of food trucks, deck tours, music, a marketplace and dockside activities. There are also tickets available for tours and sail-aways that range from $34.95 to $295 VIP access. For an itinerary and tickets, visit tallshipsstpete.com.
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